Currency: Nepali rupee - US$1 equals approximately Rs.105 and 1€ equals approximately Rs.120 as at March 2016.
Political System: Federal Democratic Republic.
What to wear: Light weight clothing is recommended from May through October. Warm garments are required from October to March. An umbrella or a raincoat is essential for the rainy season.
Tourist visa with multiple entries:
15 days US$25 or equivalent
30 days US$40 or equivalent
90 days US$100 or equivalent
30 days for nationals of SAARC countries
Indian nationals do not require visa to enter Nepal
Transportation in Kathmandu:
Airport transfer: there is a fixed rate taxi service from the airport to the city (6kms). The service is available almost round the clock.
Private Taxi (car): there is a 24 hours private taxi service operated by major hotels. The fare is slightly higher than metered taxi. You can also arrange it through travel agency.
Hiring private cars: for long tours (within or out of the valley) one can rent a private car or taxi through a travel agency or a car rental firm.
Hiring motorbike: motorbike for hire is generally available at Thamel, Jhochhen (Freak street), Thahity, New Road etc. But one has to deposit passport. Wearing a helmet is mandatory for driving and should be provided by the rental firm.
Around town: metered taxis can be hailed on the streets. The charge for metered taxi is based on per km. There is an extra 50% charge from 8pm to 6am.
Buses: There are buses, mini buses, micro buses and three wheelers that ply on fixed routes at regular intervals. The service is fairly frequent. Most of these buses operate from morning to evening. City buses (that ply within Kathmandu and go to Bhaktapur, Patan as well as those going to Kiritpur, Banepa, Dhulikhel and Thankot) leave from the city's bus-park located at the eastern side of Tundikhel parade ground. Buses on long route leave from Central Bus Terminal located at Gongabu via Kalanki. Tourist coaches for Pokhara and Sauraha leave from Kantipath.
Rickshaws: two seated tri-cycles are a fun way to travel around Kathmandu. They are especially useful for short trips within the older part of the city where cars can be a problem because of narrow lanes and crowded market place. The fares should be negotiated beforehan.
AccommodationThere is a wide variety of accommodations available in Kathmandu, ranging from budget hotels to five-star hotels as well as rental apartments. In the mountains, there are many basic lodges and tea houses, as well as camping sites.
Nepal is situated between India in the South and Tibet in the North. It looks like a rectangle, 800 km from East to West, 200 km from South to North. In the South, the terail, in the North, the Himalaya range, in the middle, steep hills where most of the population is located.
The Himalaya are the youngest mountains in the World as well as being the highest. It was formed by the collision of the Indian continental plate moving to North under the Asian continental plate pushing up the Tibetan plateau. In the Hindu Kush Himalaya range stand the fourteen 8000 m tops in the world, ten of them in Nepal including the highest, Everest.
Major Mountains in Nepal:
|Mountains||Height (meters)||Date of First Ascent||Ranking in the World|
|Everest||8848||29 May 1953||1|
|Kanchenjunga||8586||25 May 1955||3|
|Lhotse||8501||18 May 1956||4|
|Makalu||8463||15 May 1955||5|
|Cho Oyu||8201||19 Oct 1954||6|
|Dhaulagiri||8167||13 May 1960||7|
|Manaslu||8156||9 May 1956||8|
|Annapurna||8091||3 June 1950||10|
The oldest presence of humans in Nepal dates to about 200,000 years ago. At this time the Kathmandu valley was a lake. 10,000 years ago the rim of this lake ruptured at Chobar, then the water was drained out and leaved a fertile valley. The Kirati founded their capital, Matatirtha, West of Kathmandu in the second half of the first millennium BC. Terai was also occupied at this time, particularly the Lumbini kingdom were Siddhartha Gautam, who was to become the Buddha, was born in 543 BC.
The Kirati were replaced by the Lichhavi around 200 AD who had their capital in Pashupatinath in Kathmandu. This dynasty gave a golden age of culture and art. Then, by the 9th century the Thakuri replaced the Lichhavi and arrived the dark ages. In the meantime, the Khasa dynasty controlled the region of Pokhara in the West.
A second golden age came with the Malla dynasty, between 1200 AD and 1768 AD. The system of castes was created at this time, with 36 main castes by the greatest reformer, Jayasthiti Malla. He also unified the cities Kathmandu, Patan, Banepa and Bhaktapur. During the latest 200 years of this dynasty, the empire was disintegrated in many kingdoms which were in competition.
In the second half of the XVIII century the king of Gorkha, leaving in a hilltop kingdom, Prithvi Narayan Shah began the slow conquest of the Kathmandu valley. In 1768 this king became the founder of the modern Nepal by taking Kathmandu throne and he closed the territory. After 1800 his successors were not able to handle the Nepal and lost the 1814-1816 war against the Britain. In 1846, the king was the subject of a plot instigated by the queen. When one of her allies was murdered she asked Jung BahadurRana, a young general, to average her. He organized what is known as the Kot massacre, the murder of 55 of the top officials. Then he made himself prime minister and took most of the power, relegating the king to a representative mission and making the prime minister office hereditary.
In 1950, Tribhuvan king, descending from Prithvi Narayan Shah, managed to escape to the India embassy, India which became a new independent country. He formed the Nepali Congress Party in India who attacked the Nepal, gaining control of most of the terail. On 15th of February 1951 an agreement was found with the promise of free election in 1952 who occurred effectively in 1959. The new king, Mahendra, promulgated the new constitution The Nepali Congress Party swept the election by 75% and Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala became the new prime minister.
On December 1962, Mahendra, dislocated the government and promulgated a new constitution without any party. In 1972 his son, Bihandra, became the new king. Due to discontent, he organized a referendum to choose between the current system with few reforms or the multiparty. He won but the reforms never happened.
During the 1980s, the prisons filled up with political dissidents. The Ranas still held many of the highest positions, particularly in the army. After more than 100 people died during a strike, the king was forced to appoint an interim government and organize new elections. In 1991 the Nepali Congress Party won shortly against the United Marxist-Leninist party. On February 12nd 1996, the Maoist civil war started for the abolition of the monarchy. Maoist took more and more power, mainly in West lands.
June 1st 2001, the prince Dipendra killed 10 members of the king family, including the king Birendra himself. Birendra's brother, Gyanendra, became the new king. Between 2002 and 2005 Birendra took over the full control of the government while Maoist continued to go from strength to strength. In 2006 an unlimited general strike started then on May 18th the king was obliged to abandon his power. Until mid 2008 it stayed a fragile situation. Finally the monarchy was abolished and the Federal Democratic Republic started.
Nepal is still a poor country. In 2007, more than 68% of the population won less than 2 USD per day.
Less than 20% of the Nepal is cultivatable while it employs more than 80% of the population. The tourism which started in 1951, is now the main source of foreign exchange. The industry is negligible. Most of the energy requirements are provided by firewood and forest cover has been reduced from 60% in 1951 to 30% now. In 1984 a forest development program was begun. Several hydroelectric projects have been built but it is still less than 5%.
It has been improved since years 1950 but it is still far from the Western standards. Primary education has been provided free since 1975. The boys to girls ratio is 100 to 87 because parents keeps the daughters at home to work in the fields. The are 4 universities.
Health care in Nepal is in its early stages of development. The Ministry of Health was only established in 1960.
The Nepal population is now more than 30 million people. It is an ethnic patchwork comprises more than 30 different people with unique cultures and languages. The Chhetri caste is the most important in Nepal (17%) before the Bahun (12%). Newars (5%) are considered the first people of the Kathmandu valley. The other ethnies are the Tharus (7 %), the Sherpas, the Tamangs (6 %), the Gurungs, the Kirantis and the Magars (7 %).
More of 80% of the population is Hindu, 11% Buddhist, 4% Muslim,3.5% Animist, 0.5% Chistian.
We can distinguish the following periods:
- From mid September to mid October: the monsoon is finished but some residual rain or snow may fall.
- From mid October end December: the best trekking period, clear sky most of the time, fewer and fewer risk of rain and snow, colder and colder as entering in winter but temperature during the daytime stays very acceptable with the sun.
- January to March: the snow is coming in this period. March can be fine.
- April to beg June: warmer and warmer, another good period for the trekking.
- beg June to mid September: this is the monsoon, warm and wet. Somes areas in Nepal are less influenced by the monsoon.